In my limited experience with black raspberries, the time it took to pick a quart wasn't worth the price per quart ($5 is what we charged). Even at $6 it wouldn't have been so. I only tried this a couple of times, and I wasn't picking at breakneck speed but wasn't slacking either. It's quite possible that I could've upped my picking game and made it worthwhile but I dunno...
I should say that the places I was picking from had a good crop of berries but the patches were kinda wild and in blocks that were sometimes pretty wide and hard to get to the center of. So if the black raspberries were tip pruned and were set up in an orderly-ish fashion, I could see it working out commercially.
Not to discourage you but I wanted to relay my experience trying to make money with black raspberries...
Grasses are generally excluded from what I know because most of them (if not all) compete for nutrients and water at the same layer as the feeder roots of most fruit trees. Also because they are aggressive at shading and/or choking out other herbaceous plants. , If you're looking for a grass for the system...bunching grasses aren't too bad at aggressively spreading and casting too much shade in my experience but I'd still suggest avoiding grass altogether.
Are you looking for plants that are flashy, functional, edible, both, or something else? Do you want perennials or annuals?
One that I would strongly suggest is chives. Edible leaves and flowers, suppresses grass to some degree, attracts pollinators, and it helps prevent apple scab.
Another option is to let nature plant it for you, though I would suggest suppressing any grass invasion with a thick mulch. Most other herbaceous plants would be beneficial or at least benign.
If you end up planting perennials near a tree, I think that it is important to take into account the eventual size of the tree trunk, as well as the eventual shade that the the tree will cast. Planning for the mature trunk size will also help keep your tree from being shaded out by something like comfrey if you plant it far enough away. I'd say 3-4 feet from the trunk is a good general distance for most plants. It's also probably better to add perennials sooner than later, to avoid damaging the tree roots when you dig a hole for whatever you're transplanting.
Check out the book Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway for some ideas on tree guilds.
My girlfriends been prompting me to make a video, and will be doing so, maybe on the weekend.
I'm not sure how much I have to share, as I'm about as novice as you can get. Like you, I've got some experience raising chickens but that's about it.
This site is geared towards larger scale operations but I still found it applicable to small scale. I also trust the information more than some random Joe's website, as it's from Cornell University. I bookmarked it because it has a chart that lists the optimum room temperature for ducks depending on their age. duckhealth.com
I'm not sure what else to share beyond what I listed in the OP Rob. What do you want to know?
One thing is to make sure you feed your ducklings starter feed, and not mature duck feed as the medication in the feed can screw up the little ones.
I've been told that you can let your ducklings roam around on their own once they are 2 months old
They supposedly drink a lot more water than chickens, and are a lot messier.
I've heard that you're supposed to leave them alone as much as possible for the first 3 days you have them as they can become too imprinted on you.
Feed them chopped up or blended up greens if you can. Give em slugs, snails, worms etc to eat as well.
I've been training my ducks to come when I call by holding a handful of grain near them and calling "here ducks!". I pull my hand away a little and call again. I'm sure there are better ways to do it but this is all I know. Supposedly you can train ducks to go to areas with flags but I'm not sure how.
On closer inspection, they are shitting. I'm used to chicken shit, which is as you probably know, is much more bulky, dry and visible than duck shit tends to be when your bedding is straw. The duck crap has been falling between the cracks of the straw, so I had to look much more closely to see it. All is well and good in duckland here.
I bought Pekin ducklings at the cattle auction barn on saturday, and I haven't seen evidence of poo yesterday. or this morning. I did see poop on sunday but maybe they were just crapping out the food that they ate on saturday at the sale barn.
I'm feeding them duck starter, and they are eating it. I can even get them to eat out of my hand. They are also going to the water dish a lot.
I checked their butts and don't see any blockage.
I don't think they're cold stressed because they aren't shivering, they aren't quacking excessively. The temperature is usually around 70 degrees Ferenheit, with a range of 65-80. The humidity ranges from 40-65%. I have them indoors with a stand-fan moving the air around lightly, and an indoor/outdoor air exchange fan which I only turn on during the day when it's sunny. Should I have the exchanger fan on all the time? I had it off when it's cold to save on heating costs.
I've got them enclosed in a makeshift pen, with straw as their bedding. They seem to be running around and playing. I check on them 3-4 times a day.
For the last two days I've been playing them a classical music radio station on low volume, but only during most (not all) of the daylight hours.
Yesterday I started adding chopped up grass, thistle and dandelion leaves, a few slugs, pillbugs, these tiny dark black thin insects, and these reddish-brown centipede lookin things that crawl real fast (I don't know their name). They came running with enthusiasm and started nibbling on everything voraciously. I'm going to hold off on all of the stuff I just described because maybe I shocked their stomachs.
Fertilization would depend on what your soil is lacking. Is it worth it for you to get a soil test done? Have you at least done a pH test?
If not, then I'd just spread a light covering of some kind of manure around the tree on the soil surface. Since you've already spread compost and mulch, I'd spread the manure in a circle around the existing mulch ring, about 1/2 to 1 foot wide, then cover it with wood chips or some other mulch. You may want to sprinkle a light dusting of wood ash around the tree as well.
To help mitigate the cold...
Place as many rocks around your trees as you can. The more, the better. To be safe though, I wouldn't put rocks within 1-2 foot of the trunks.
Water...if you can; create ponds, even small ones near your trees. Generally, placing ponds to the south of the trees is best because it'll reflect light towards them.
As I understand it... the logs aren't necessarily nitrogen hogs. If your wood is semi-decomposed, or you are using small diameter wood the nutrients within are likely to release in the first year (eg. branches, twigs, and anything smaller than a skinny human arm). That's been my experience at least. The type of wood makes a difference as well. Oak will take longer to release the nutrients compared to say a poplar.
If you've got free bat shit that is easily attainable I'd say go for it but it's not necessary.
Now is a good time to sheet mulch and plant fruit trees. As for what else to plant...make sure that whatever you do plant is considered a cold weather plant. Seed packets should list germination temperatures. Look for plants that are ok germinating in the 50 F to 60 F range, or if the packet says "plant as soon as the soil can be worked"
Grapes: Make sure wherever you plant em has good airflow, which may exclude the spot you mentioned. It may be dry but if the air is stagnant that could mean powdery mildew
You can grow heavy feeder crops in a first year hugelbeet but you have to build it a certain way.
I had great success in first year hugel beds with sweet bell peppers, eggplants, and radish. I'd say it was the best yield that I've ever had from those three crops. The only fertility I added aside from the wood was a handful of horse manure for each eggplant and pepper plant. Nothing for the radish.
I built the bed using wood that had been cut that year. It was mostly twigs and branches no thicker than an arm, and piled dark loamy soil on top. The bed ended up being about 2.5 feet high.
Thanks Matt. There'll be plenty more video's to come. My biggest setback is the time it takes to upload, and the many times the upload crashes before it finally works out. If not for that I'd have several other video's up already
It's funny when Bowie is around the camera. It's as if he knows about what it does because he's not usually that affectionate with me nor does he hang around as much when the camera isn't present. Hershey couldn't really care less about it, he just wants protection and reassurance.
The vine did grow pretty well despite my commenting otherwise during the tour. I had forgotten that the grapes had been affected by frost because so many of the other plants still had vibrant greenery, so I made the comment about it not doing so good when I saw the leaves looking faded.
I'm going to do a pH test of that spot in the spring and see where things are at. Though the pine is well established, the soil here is on limestone bedrock and so is usually a bit on the basic side of things. I have lots of wood ash from our wood stove if need be...
I've used horse manure that I'm pretty sure had wormer chemical in it, and the plant growth was good enough to net about $11 000 in veggie sales on less than an acre in the first year of no-till cultivation. I say pretty sure because there are a lot of horses (about 20) that contribute to the pile I draw from, and most are individually owned so I'm assuming that at least some of them (probably most) use chemical de-worming agents. On the plus side, I'm told that other than this, there are no synthetic treatments added, including no anti-biotics. There's probably chem traces in some of the grain feed though.
I'm guessing that my yields and plant health would have been noticeably better without the chemical in the manure but until I get the veganic methods down, I have little choice.
Ah I should've been more specific. I was asking about the indigenous soil, not the stuff you've amended with.
I've got experience with both mandala and straight row gardens. I will say that I feel like mandala's have a much more pleasant feel about them. If you have to keep moving your drip irrigation to different areas, placing them accurately in mandala's can be a real pain in the ass but if you can leave the drip irrigation in place for the season, it wouldn't be a problem of course.
Do you have sandy, loamy, or clay soil? If you're going to have to irrigate a lot, I'd go with dripline and slightly off contour beds as Nicola cautions. If watering isn't a problem, or you have to use a hose/circular sprinkler, I'd go with a mandala, and put the sprinkler in the centre.
I have Mollison book. I'll re-read the grains section. I assumed in my mind that that system would be for a partially developed soil. When I say sand I mean sand and gravel. I'll read and experiment though. Thanks for.the suggestion.
As far as zone??? Near here they say 8,9,10. Butttttt. We are in a canyon that separates us from them. I'll say this. We get lows in the winter to 10 f. Today it was 65 when the sun went down it dropped to 24 in an hour. As for summer it gets to over 100 . We have a 3 month growing season. Last June 1 it snowed. You tell me? It's a tough one to figure.
All that said I'm unsure what grain to plant. Never done them and ave read.very little.on the subject. One of lost. I think.we will be in the teens for sometime over night for some time yet. Will some grains hang out and do their thing when the time is right? Do I wait till last frost? Lost here...
Hmmm sounds like a pretty tricky environment indeed. I don't know enough to advise on a climate with such temperature swings, except to suggest trying small plots of a few different types of grains and see what sticks?
I'd like to find an invasive starchy plant for horse grazing. Grass is too high in sugar and clover and other legumes are too high in protein, both of which can cause major problems for horses who don't work much, which mine don't.
Anybody know of anything that'd fit the bill? Even a bush or tree that could be coppiced and thrown in would be alright but I was only able to find high protein tree leaves.
If you're worried about it, consider making furrows (small trenches, 2-3 inches wide) down the length of the of the finished sheet mulch bed, and fill them with soil, or a half soil/half compost mix and then plant into that? It's worked for me.
Or, make the bed by creating small mounds along the length of the garden area, of hay and/or grass clippings and/or tree leaves and/or compost, 3-4 inches wide and 4-6 inches high with 2-3 inches of space between each mound to be filled in as I've described in the first paragraph. After 7 years of sheet mulching, this is how I construct my beds if I'm doing direct seeding. I made this modification because I didn't see the sense in creating a typical sheet mulch, only to 'mess it up' by creating the furrows after the fact. I've found that weed suppression is just as good as the method described by Toby Hemenway.
Brenda; My understanding is that if you create new 'streams/creeks/canals' properly from artificial pond to artificial pond, that this is ok. Not sure about your idea to drain into a swamp then a river though.
Fred; I had thought about beavers actually, and how they fit into this. I remember as a kid watching beavers make ponds near my grandparents cottage (and wishing I could be a beaver!) I'd have to ask my professors their opinion on this, and also the severity of any dangers online ponds may pose. I do know that my province takes this issue very seriously, and is enacting stream rehabilitation projects to correct some of the problems they cause. Online ponds are either banned or heavily restricted. I've contacted a conservation authority friend of mine to get more concrete info.
Jim, I don't suppose you have access to Bill Mollisons 'Introduction to Permaculture' book? It might be at your local library. If not I can type it out for you but thought I'd ask before going through with it. Page 136-137 outlines a fukuoka style grain crop system. I assume you could sub in buckwheat for any of the grains, as it needs even less nutrients than any of the grains listed in this method as far as I know.
What hardiness zone are you in? Buckwheat grows just fine here in zone 5, central ontario.
I'd go with buckwheat for your sandy soil, with a clover understory. You may want to think about making seed balls to cover the buckwheat depending on how dry it gets there and how many varmints are in the area who might want to eat your seeds. You may be able to get away with spreading hay or straw overtop of the plantings instead of the seed balls, if thats a better option for you.
Sunchokes can get pretty rampant but I've seen plots that were controlled well. One guy had a square plot of em, and he'd till the edges every year to set the spreading plants back. I'm not sure how the other person controlled theres. Harvesting them helps with control but I'm told that once you plant em, you're probably not going to be able to get rid of them.
Cj Verde wrote:Hi Travis. What orientation are the beds?
Also, the shortened version was a better but.... you lost me at about the same place! I didn't like the music but it did help until the chanting/singing kicked in. It just took too much effort to hear what you where saying over the other voices. I'd love to have a look at another video with lots of green - shoot it when the beds look fantastic.
The beds are oriented north- south, and are on a slight south-facing slope. If I could do it again I'd have angled the beds about 40 degrees off from straight north-south as is recommended in Sepp's book.
Hmm I was worried that the music was too loud and distracting. Damn.